Anta's Collab with Sneaker Design Visionary Salehe Bembury Is 'Fly'
If you know sneakers, then Salehe Bembury should be a pretty familiar name. Versace’s ex-vice president of sneakers and men’s footwear has a long, impressive resume. Most remembered for his body of work with Yeezy, bembury is also known for being part of the team behind the Cole Haan LunarGrand collection, which featured Nike Lunarlon cushioning.
At Versace, the seasoned shoe designer redefined and provided the iconic label street red by coming up with its unforgettable collaboration with KITH just a few years back as well as the iconic Chain Reaction shoe, inspired by rapper 2 Chainz, that drew the Medusa back into this hip-hop-obssessed generation’s consciousness. Not bad for someone who got the Versace gig by sliding into one of the bosses' DMs on LinkedIn.
Since his departure from the legendary Italian fashion house, Bembury has been busy with his own brand Spunge and collaborating with a bunch of different footwear brands like Vans, New Balance, Crocs, and probably the most surprising of all, Anta.
Founded in 1991, the Chinese sportswear giant is now the third largest sports group in the world in terms of assets and brands. Anta built the first sports science laboratory in China in 2005 bringing together more than 100 scientists and technical managers as well as over 300 global designers that churn out products currently distributed in four continents.
Arriving in the Philippines in 2019, Anta now has six stores in the country, including a brand spankin’ new one that just launched recently at TriNoma Mall. As a special treat, Anta celebrated the store’s opening with the local release of the much-anticipated Balloonflower Blue colorway of the Salehe Bembury x Anta Nest SB-02. The shoe’s design is a marriage of urban streetwear and nature.
Known for his daily morning hikes in Southern California, Bembury drew inspiration from birds’ nests he would see while on his two-hour treks. This image brought about the interlacing aesthetic that definitely stands out the most among the shoe’s structural elements.
“Twigs are very weak but the moment they are woven into a nest, they become infinitely strong,” explains Bembury. The Anta Nest cushioning, which really does resemble a bird’s home, gives the shoe a chunky, intricately designed midsole ready to take on the great outdoors.
“The Nest Technology is actually the structural design that contributes to the fit and comfort of the shoe,” says JP Paglinawan, general manager of Avidsports Philippines, the exclusive distributor and partner of Anta in the country. “The construction of the Nest midsole also contributes to the stability. It's a fully functional hiking shoe.”
Oval cut synthetic overlays, inspired by a picture of a bird breaking through an egg’s shell, shroud the shoe’s neoprene one-piece upper held together by a knitted mesh base. A non-slip rubber outsole adds to the shoe’s stability and comfort. The choice of contrasting subdued blue and yellow for this low-top is just genius.
The Salehe Bembury x Anta Nest SB-02, which retails for P5,995, is available in very limited quantities exclusively at the brand new Anta store on the second floor of TriNoma Mall.